Friday, July 22, 2016

Thursday's Dinner: Warm Peach and Prosciutto Salad and Cauliflower Soup with Maple Sausage Bread Crumbs

    Last night, I was stuck in traffic and arrived back home even later than I had anticipated.  This was on top of a dentist visit, where the new crown didn't quite sit right so a new impression had to be made and I have to go back again in two weeks...novocaine for nothing.  I was very happy that dinner was practically made.

     Realizing that I had some fresh local peaches and blueberries on the counter and arugula growing in a container on the deck, I remembered a peach salad that I had made years ago.  I tweaked the recipe a bit and it turned out to be a great first course.

     The cauliflower soup was made on Sunday.  As it warmed in a pot on the stove, I quickly cooked up small pieces of maple sausage.  When the sausage was cooked through, I added a bit of butter to the pan along with 3/4 cup of panko.  Once this was crispy, I transferred the mixture to a bowl.  At the table, we added the garnish and it added sweetness and texture to the soup.

     The soup is super easy to make and this recipe can serve as a base for many cream based vegetable soups.  In a large pot, melt 4T butter and then added one medium diced onions, three crushed garlic cloves, three thyme sprigs and one bay leaf.  Cook over medium heat until the onions are softened.  Add cauliflower florets, six cups of good quality chicken stock and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes. 

    Transfer the soup to a blender in batches and puree the soup until smooth.  I strained the soup through a fine sieve into a soup pot.  Then I added a half cup of heavy cream and seasoned with salt and pepper.

   Back to the peach salad...

Warm Peach, Blueberry and Serrano Ham Salad
Inspired by Michael Chiarello

Ingredients for three people

2 peaches, cored and sliced into thick wedges
1/4 cup blueberries
3/4 cup baby arugula
Parmesan crisps (you can either make them or buy them)
6 slices thinly sliced Serrano ham or Prosciutto
2T butter
2t finely chopped fresh thyme
2T balsamic vinegar.

Place two slices of Serrano or Prosciutto on each plate.  Place the peaches in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Heat butter over medium heat.  Add thyme, peaches, and vinegar.  Toss for one minute.  Add the arugula and toss.  Divide mixture evenly among the three plates.  Scatter fresh blueberries and crushed Parmesan crisps and serve immediately.

    Next week is looking to be as busy as this one...I am thinking that I will be cooking again for the week on Sunday.  Stay tuned.


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